With input from Butler employees, Healthy Horizons is evaluating how to encourage more people to be screened for breast, cervical, or colorectal cancer.

In early April, 374 staff and faculty members responded to a confidential online survey of attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors related to screenings for the cancers. The survey and follow-up activities are supported by the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) Cancer Control Section, in partnership with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Butler was one of only three institutions selected statewide as the first partners in this important cancer initiative,” said Carrie Maffeo, director of Healthy Horizons, Butler’s employee wellness program based in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Maffeo and staff will use the survey results to develop screening strategies customized to the needs of the campus community.

Employee wellness programs for Indiana University Health La Porte Hospital and Grace College and Seminary in Winona Lake were also selected for the pilot program.

“Butler’s application was unique in that, in addition to a desire to address physical barriers to cancer screening—i.e., cost, time, availability—they indicated a desire to address psychological barriers that may exist,” Dawn Swindle, health education and communications director for ISDH’s Cancer Control Section, Division of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control.

“This was definitely an interesting concept, and an area where we felt there was an existing gap in data and information,” she said.

All three locations conducted the same baseline assessment, Swindle said.

“Each organization in the pilot is developing a strategy that works best for their culture, and is specific to which cancer—breast, cervical, or colorectal— that they chose to address.”

Early detection screenings save lives, but can also provide significant financial benefits for employers. According to the National Business Group on Health, in 2010, the indirect costs of cancer to employers include an estimated $136 billion in lost productivity.

“We know that, on average, companies spend $3,000 per employee per year in direct medical costs,” said Swindle. “That number jumps to an estimated $16,000 per year in direct medical costs when an employee has cancer. In addition, when organizations provide employees with comprehensive wellness policies, they increase their desirability as an employer—retaining and attracting high caliber staff.”

Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson
(317) 940-6944
mestephe@butler.edu

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